There was an informational meeting on the recovery plans for the Angeles National Forest May 26, 2010 at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. Representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders, the Sierra Club, TreePeople, Student Conservation Association, Caltrans, and Outward Bound were present.
The intent of the Recovery Plan is to create a more ecologically sustainable forest than before and to build a community of involved users.
There was a brief mention of San Gabriel Mountains Forever, a group the Sierra Club supports and that has the goals of promoting the proposed San Gabriel National Recreation Area and of increasing wilderness in the San Gabriels. CORBA is investigating this wilderness proposal and its potential impact on multi-use trails.
An intern from Congressman Schiff’s office announced an upcoming informational meeting on the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study. The Corridor is a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy project to expand the National Recreation Area. The meeting will be at the Nature Center at 10 am, Friday, June 4.
Mike MacIntyre, the River District Ranger for the Angeles National Forest discussed the new closure order. Details of that are on the ANF web site. He showed some photos of the extensive damage to the upper Arroyo Seco, Gould Mesa Road, several fire stations, Grizzly Flats Road, and Vogel Flats area. He reported that a large boulder had been blasted from the Mt. Wilson Toll Road near Mt. Harvard. He also confirmed that Millard campground is open, but not El Prieto, Sunset Ridge or other trails. They are looking to open more areas by the July 4th weekend.
He noted about 35,000 acres of forested land burned, 24,000 of that was pretty much denuded and may not come back on its own. There are plans to reforest about 11,000 acres of the 24,000. Seedlings were not available to get started this year, and planting is expected to start with an initial 4400 acres in early 2011. Carbon credits, grants, and Congressional sources will fund the project.<
A representative from the Tree People explained that there is a narrow window for replanting because the soil has to warm and be moist. If they wait too long it is too hot and dry for the seedlings to survive without watering, which is usually not practical. They are recruiting and training for 2011 now. Tree People are the lead group on the reforestation efforts.
Bob Cates reported that the Sierra Club’s Angeles Forest Restoration Project will be working on trails the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month starting in July. They have 380 volunteers signed up. They focus on the area up Highway 39 to Crystal Lake.
The Student Conservation Association is 50+ years old, but until 2004 did not have a presence in SoCal. They have both paid workers and non-paid volunteers. Besides doing all kinds of conservation related work, they encourage participants to consider careers in forestry, wildlife management, conservation, etc. They have some crews working with the USFS on the fire recovery. These crews work for several weeks at a time, so can get into back country and handle more complex jobs.
The final speaker was Patrick Chandler from Caltrans District 7. There were 25 washouts or slides along the closed section of Highway 2. Caltrans are hoping to have it open by mid-July. Most of the problem was that the debris flows blocked all the drains, then the water washed across the road and off the down side eroding the shoulders and below and undermining the roadbeds. Although the engineers wanted to, they are not going to build any bridges, as there are no funds available.
Thanks to CORBA member Mitch Marich for the report.